I’ve been told that Bobby Kennedy originated the quote and that even he cribbed it from someone else. Our idols have feet of clay. Still a great sentiment.
I am a strange bird and not everyone’s cup of tea.
I was a child when John F. Kennedy was president and was assassinated. I was in class in third grade when they announced it over the speaker. Television was broadcast in black
and white and phones were shared party lines. As children we pretty much went anywhere we felt and did what we wanted to do and as long as we didn’t get injured or arrested and got home for dinner, nobody cared.
Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both killed when I was 12 and I was 13 when we put a man on the moon.
My formative years were the Cold War. Duck and cover drills, fallout shelters, and several very close brushes with nuclear war. Real global civilization-ending nuclear war, not just North Korea or a bunch of terrorists popping off a city or two or even India and Pakistan mixing it up. Just young enough not to have been drafted and sent to Vietnam.
The very real threat of the Soviet Union gave us a common enemy to unite against. Most adults remembered World war II and most middle aged men had served in it, another source of unification.
There were only four broadcast television networks, including PBS. No Internet. Thick newspapers delivered the daily news while three or four major news magazines delivered monthly analysis from somewhat different perspectives. It was a golden age for print media. Reading mattered.
The limited number of news outlets meant they all had to appeal to the middle. That also unified us. Today we easily pick and choose which truth confirms our biases, a big reason the country is splintering.
The country was split along broad ideological lines but there was nothing like the fracturing we see today. OTOH, we didn’t have bodycam footage to show us the racially-based brutality of police encounters. When we did see some during the civil rights demonstrations of the 60s, it still offended most of us. LGBTQ people were not safe anywhere and that didn’t offend quite as many.
There a lot of good things going on in the 60s and a lot of bad. A working-class man could buy a house and support a wife and 2 kids on a 40 hour week. OTOH, a woman was never going to get the chance to work that same blue-collar job. Her career opportunities were extremely limited. “Trans” didn’t even exist in public awareness.
The autism spectrum didn’t exist as a “thing.” Just meant you were the butt of jokes and bullying. At best you were a geek or a nerd. Authorities might decide you were antisocial and incorrigible. At worst they locked you away in special ed classes and institutions.
If we could combine the freedom and prosperity of the ’60s with the progressive movement of the 2020s, we’d have a damn near perfect world.
I was a teenage “survivalist,” worked in the fields, loved firearms and animals, grew up in awe of science and the space program, and was a fiscally conservative, socially liberal, neurally diverse, clothing allergic, social liberal in a God-fearing bible-thumping ultra-conservative corner of the country. IOW, I fit in nowhere.
At the time I write this, I’m 63 years old and semi-retired, married and have 2 adult children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a rescued desert tortoise. I most often post about anime. I know older men aren’t supposed to enjoy anime, let alone want to share their opinion with a much younger audience. I ignore rules like that. You are as young as you type.
I have older followers too. They even catch my references to 1960s pop culture. 😉
I can be politically incorrect for everyone, regardless of your politics. An equal opportunity iconoclast. I hate ideologies, I hate authoritarianism, and I hate labels.
I love nature photography and hiking and the wilderness. Many of my posts are about such. I grew up surrounded by near-wilderness. You can take the boy out of the wild but you can’t take the wild out of the boy.
February 12, 2022 at 14:37
I am just 21 as I am writing this. I learned a lot from reading this, to read about the past from someone else’s perspective. It was both motivational and informational at the same time. Thanks!!
June 25, 2021 at 22:11
It sounds like we might be two peas in a pod. You’re just a few years older than me. I had many of the same influences and experiences. I miss the slower and simpler life of those bygone days. How about you?
June 25, 2021 at 23:00
There were many good things about the “good ole days” but there were quite a few things that were bad and things that were unacceptable. Racism was far worse back then. Gays were considered criminals and perverts and sinners. Vietnam almost trivializes Afghanistan and Iraq in terms of deaths on all sides. We liked to dance around on the edge of anihlation.
But there were good things. 150 million fewer people in the US and 3 billion fewer worldwide, for one. We demanded fewer things, so a single working class person with a family could earn enough for the great American Dream.
I saw a lot of revolutionary ideas announced in the 60s but eventually, the flower children had largely abandoned the revolution for yuppiedom.
Today we have medical tech that would look like magic to someone back then. We can communicate with anyone on the planet almost instantly. The entire body of knowledge of the entire world is at our fingertips. We can all blog and v-tube and podcast and our audience is limited only by our appeal. Our entertainment options are limitless.
But most of our technology really isn’t helping us. Humans simply aren’t needed for most tasks. More and more of the mundane work is being done by AI and even a lot of not so mundane work. That is why more and more people accumulate in lower-wage service industry jobs. They aren’t capable of becoming computer techs and engineers. They are qualified to be the equivalent of workplace cannon fodder.
We are becoming atomized as people and we accumulate in social bubbles that encourage extremism and intolerance. Privacy no longer exists.
I do miss the simplicity and slow pace. I miss not being chained to a smart phone. I miss only having 4 broadcast networks and I miss politicians from different parties speaking to each other with respect.
I miss Doris Day.
But… it ain’t coming back. And my father missed his good old days. I’m sure his grandfather missed his. I don’t know how far back one must go to when the culture did not change enough between generations that the elderly no longer belonged and could not comprehend why they’d been discarded by younger generations.
June 26, 2021 at 01:52
Interesting that you mention population booms. Overpopulation was a big talking point in the 1970s. Now, as we talk about global warming and climate catastrophe, hardly anyone mentions the huge impact of increased population plays in hastening these changes.
True, changes in agricultural technology have increased crop yields every decade or so and that has been our saving grace and an excuse for not worrying more about this. But we have probably reached near the end of increasing crop yields. I think some of that has also had a negative impact on the environment, as well.
Every generation does complain about the latest changes and yearns for the good old days. My younger grandmother (Dad’s mom) was born in 1903, the year the Wright Brothers flew. She lived to 93 and got to see us get to the Moon and beyond. She didn’t talk much, so I don’t know how much all the changes she witnessed made her wish for the old days. She wasn’t much of a “looking back” kind of person and neither was my dad. He was always more interested in looking to the future, which often had him worried.
Some technologies he embraced, such as personal computers. He was a commercial artist but returned to his first career as an educator in the mid-1970s to learn computer programming and get a doctorate in Educational Technology so he could write programs for computer-aided instruction, which he was able to do until his death in 1994. He bought a couple of Radio Shack TRS-80 computers to run his programs at the school where he worked.
I miss Doris Day, too. And my favorite, the lesser-known jazz ballad singer June Christy, who started as a big-band singer with the Stan Kenton orchestra.
June 26, 2021 at 15:27
More people means more demand on water supply. It means more land has to be farmed. It means more buildings, more pavement, more vehicles, more energy consumption.
Imagine telling the 2nd and third world, “Sorry, you can’t have a modern society like us because there aren’t the resources. And you’ve gotta stop having babies.” Or telling the urbanized high-tech societies, “You’re going to have to lose the cars and air conditioning and all food production will have to be done in algae vats and not open farms.”
Technology can “fix” our issues but we may not like the solutions. Remember, birth control is medical technology. OTOH, so are vaccines.
There is such an antitechnological bent today that we could not eradicate smallpox if it appeared today. That took a global effort with a nearly 100% vaccination rate in even the poorest countries.
The world isn’t going to end but it could get very rough.
June 26, 2021 at 20:47
Agree 100%. I think of countries like China, which was a predominantly rural country and economy until Nixon decided it would be a great place to open a McDonalds and make cheap American widgets. We are now reaping the consequences. China has come a long way technologically, but is also now a major world-class polluter. It used to keep its massive population employed by building and making practically everything like roads by hand.
Fundamentalist religion with its growing political impact is just making things a lot worse. Not just impeding necessary progress, but pushing us backwards. The world will not end, it will just be a lot more difficult and uncomfortable to live in.
The most maddening part is that we have the means to get past all this and save ourselves and much of the environment, but we have people arguing about not just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but whether the color of the fabric on the seats is the right shade. This is insanity! We could actually patch the leaks and keep the ship from sinking, but we have to stop and all work together.
Actually, much of the economy could flourish on the business of new energy production, cleaning up the water supplies, reforestation, and all the other tasks needed to create a sustainable way of life. Believe it or not, I was thinking about sustainability at around age 12, in 1963. I guess I was thinking scientifically way back then (I majored in chemical engineering for a year in college), always wondering where our “grow the economy” mantra was taking us.
Back then our textbooks would tell us there was 200 years of timber left, 400 years of coal, and 600 years of oil, or whatever. And while everyone else breathed a sigh of relief, I thought, “So what do we do when it all runs out?” No one seemed to be asking that question.
Growing up in Phoenix, I witnessed the consequences of unbridled growth as the open desert boondocks my parents built their dream house in quickly filled up and the city limits not only caught up to us but passed us by. The chamber of commerce and tourism boosters were touting the beautiful desert and mild climate, all the while encouraging builders to bulldoze it all and keep sucking all the water out of the ground. But, hey, “It’s great for business!”
We get a lot of our water now from Lake Mead and Lake Mead is drying up. When does it end??? Only when it’s too late. Which is pretty soon, I’m afraid.
June 13, 2021 at 21:47
Sounds like we could hang out! I have an autistic grandson (nonverbal) and I think my son is on the high end of the spectrum (undiagnosed). He was evaluated 35 years ago with learning disabilities and developmental delays in kindergarten by a doctor who has since become the head of the Southwest Autism Research Center here in Arizona. So much more is understood nowadays that I suspect he would have a better diagnosis these days. In some ways my son might fit the autistic savant descriptor, if that is still used. He has amazing retention of trivia for things like classic rock music and geography, though simple math frustrates him.
June 15, 2021 at 20:55
Probably could. How are you at hiking?
June 26, 2021 at 01:36
Hiking? I love hiking! Been doing it since infancy (sort of).
My parents bought some desert land on a foothill north of Phoenix, Ariz., around 1950 to build their dream house. They lived in Phoenix but would often go visit their 10 acres while site work progressed inch by inch over the years. I was born in 1951 and my mom told me once that our hill, which my dad described fairly accurately as a pile of rocks, was literally one of the places where I learned to walk. I have seen photographic evidence, actually.
I spent my youth hiking the hills that formed a secluded valley behind our desert property. Some of those larger hills became famous landmarks and hiking spots for the city. I kind of put hiking aside for a while when my kids were young, but then my son joined the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and I once again had a great excuse to hiking and backpacking.
Got to some remote spots few people ever make it, such as hiking to Rainbow Bridge National Monument over the hills and valleys to the south on the Navajo Reservation. I’ve backpacked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon five times over a period of almost 40 years, starting in high school. I intend to make it at least one more time before I hang up my hiking boots for good. My balance isn’t quite what it used to be, but I can still boulder hop without falling down.
Luckily, through the years I have only had one or two real falls on a trail, one a slow-motion ass-over-teakettle tumble on a switchback going to Rainbow Bridge. No harm done, not even to my pack. I think I had a slightly bruised hip! I’ve had my feet start to go out from under me a few times, but I usually catch myself.
My only problem these days is exercising (and walking/hiking) often enough to stay in shape so that I could do a substantial hike with significant elevation gain, say a nine- or 10-mile hike up a mountain. I have done several four- to six-mile hikes recently on smaller mountains and did fairly well. But I just can’t hike as fast as I used to. I am getting better, though. I used to get winded on just short steep stretches and have to stop. Now I can usually make it and rest by just slowing down.
For several years now, I have been aiming at hiking up 12,637-foot Humphreys Peak, the highest spot in Arizona, near Flagstaff. I got nearly to the top with my son about 10-15 years ago, but he wasn’t feeling well, so we turned back before the summit. June is the best month to go, when it is the least cold and has the least chance of getting caught in a thunderstorm. But I know I would now need AT LEAST six months of fairly steady training to be sure I had the stamina to make it to the top.
It’s about a 3,400-foot elevation gain and 10.7 miles out and back from the trailhead at the Snow Bowl ski resort. So it’s not unlike climbing back out of the Grand Canyon.
April 20, 2020 at 19:37
Why and why not, it’s a real motivation.
April 20, 2020 at 19:35
oh my God, you are amazing, ”we are as young as we think we are” i also come across in ‘the power of subconscious mind’ no one is old, we become old by our thoughts. your posts led me to know about you, and i’m happy to know about you. Your words describe you perfectly, even though we don’t think ourselves perfect but we can imagine about it. Sending you all my positive vibes. Peace out!